I use to think joy was external. At least that was the notion I grew up with. In order to be happy you need to have outward success. As the years went by, life gave me a different definition. One day I read a quote by Jim Carey which said, “I wish people became billionaires to understand that’s not where true happiness lies.” It hit me like a ton of bricks because I read that quote when I was questioning my happiness and why things weren’t working out.

Real joy doesn’t come from getting.

After constant worrying and hustling in making sure I was successful, I realized I was beating a dead horse so to speak. While trying to force happiness into my life, no matter how hard I tried, I never felt joy. I’d spend money on external things only to have the joy disappear after a matter of time. It would fade and I was off looking for the next thing to give me that joyful feeling. That’s when I knew I was getting it all wrong.

I was viewing happiness and joy as transactions. As commodities or things that one needs to purchase and have in your household. We’ve all grown accustomed to looking at joy that way. You’ve seen this pattern in every commercial, TV show, or billboard. There is always something new and better for you to buy and until you get it, you won’t be happy. You’ll be sad and out of place. But here’s the truth:

Joy comes from within.

Buddha once said, “Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It solely relies on what you think.” Once I saw the pattern that I’ve ingrained after years of conformity, I knew there was some deep healing that needed to be done. I was using items and objects to hide away from what I needed to focus on. My inner self.

If joy comes from within, then why do we replace it with external things?

It’s understanding that everything external is temporary. The good and the bad, everything will come in and out of our lives. So if we solely rely on that, then we will forever be searching for meaning in our life. The keep to pure joy is realizing that you have to redefine it. To realize that joy is an inside job.

You are the master of your own happiness.

No one can make you or tell you what you need in order to feel joy or to be happy. That is entirely up to you. You have the power to wake up and want to feel joy or view the world in awe instead of fear. And that takes practice.

It takes time to deprogram your mind of consumerism and buying things to feel good. It takes practice to rely just on YOU and your own company to feel good. It sounds foreign, even to me, and I’ve been practicing this for years. But if you want lasting joy, a joy that will never fade, joy that will be in abundance – that’s the key. It’s not from the outside in, it’s from the inside out.

Don’t know how or where to start? Start with gratitude.

Start with acknowledging the things that you already have. The things that surround you and make you feel at peace. It could be your family, your job, your neighborhood. It could be your good health, the books you have on your shelf, your pet, literally anything. Look around and see what you have and notice that you are perfect here and now.

Is there room for improvement? Sure. Can we always ask for more? Absolutely. As long as we understand that things don’t define our joy or happiness. You do.

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Til next time homies,

kim delarosa

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

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